This study identifies the relationship between tsunami damage and mortality through a demographic pyramid of a town severely damaged by the tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011. It uses cross-sectional data collection. Volunteers visited all households, including shelters, and asked residents about the whereabouts of family members and neighbours. The information was collated with lists of evacuees and the dead to confirm the whereabouts of all residents about 50 days after the disaster. Demographic pyramids for the whole population based on pre- and post-disaster data were drawn. In all, 1,412 (8.8 per cent) were dead or missing, 60.2 per cent of whom were aged 65 and over and 37.5 per cent aged 75 and over, suggesting that the very old should be located beyond the reach of tsunamis. The mortality rate of children was lower than that in other studies, which may indicate the efficacy of disaster evacuation drills.